Canada: a significant return for Formula 1 After a year off, one of the most popular races on the Formula 1 calendar returns in the shape of the Canadian Grand Prix. The crowd is one of the most enthusiastic of the year and the entire city of ...
Canada: a significant return for Formula 1
After a year off, one of the most popular races on the Formula 1 calendar returns in the shape of the Canadian Grand Prix. The crowd is one of the most enthusiastic of the year and the entire city of Montreal seems to get swept along in a wave of excitement for a race that is often packed with incidents and changes of fortune. Coming back to Canada is also significant as it sees Formula 1 return to North America, a very important market for all teams and sponsors, especially as the United States is due to stage its own F1 comeback in two years time. Apart from last year and in 1987, the Grand Prix has been staged at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve since 1978, with Mosport and Mont Tremblant having staged the event prior to that, dating back to the inaugural Canadian GP in 1967.
Scuderia Ferrari has won this event a total of eleven times, starting with Jacky Ickx in 1970, but it was the first visit to the Montreal street circuit in 1978 which really cemented Canada's passion for both Formula 1 and Ferrari when local boy Gilles Villeneuve was first past the flag in a Prancing Horse car at the track which would later be named after him. However, in recent years, it has not been a particularly lucky race for the team, whose last victory, courtesy of Michael Schumacher, dates back to 2004. Of our current driver line-up, Fernando Alonso won back in 2006, while Felipe Massa's best finish was a fourth in 2005 and the Brazilian has been particularly unlucky here, penalised for failing to spot the red light at pit lane exit in 2007 and a year later the team made a mistake during his refuelling in a race which saw Ferrari involved in another pit lane traffic light incident, when Lewis Hamilton smashed into the back of Kimi Raikkonen, who was waiting for the light to turn green.
On the technical front, the F10 is basically to the same specification that it had in Turkey, with the exception that the two cars will be fitted with an aero configuration suited to the medium to low downforce characteristics of the track, the first time this year the cars will have run like this. To evaluate this set-up, Giancarlo Fisichella was at the wheel for an aero test at Vairano last Thursday. The blown rear wing which the Scuderia has used in a couple of races so far could also be an important factor, given the extended running at top speed down the long straight sections of the track. Both Felipe and Fernando are of the opinion the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve should be better suited to the characteristics of the car than was the case in Turkey, partly based on the fact that the track layout is the most similar to those where the F10 has been most competitive so far this year, namely Bahrain and Melbourne. In addition, the Bridgestone tyre choices for Canada of Supersoft and Medium have been less problematic than their harder compounds. However, one cannot assume that Ferrari will be a front runner until after the first practice sessions on Friday.